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Taking It in the Trump: Everything the President Did This Week (Feb. 19, 2017)
culture  |  Feb 19, 2017

Taking It in the Trump: Everything the President Did This Week (Feb. 19, 2017)

The Donald’s disastrous presidency keeps getting worse and more absurd every day. You better keep up.

The Donald’s disastrous presidency keeps getting worse and more absurd every day. You better keep up.

From a national security disgrace to a massive press conference disaster, this past week was undoubtedly the most difficult for President Donald Trump and his cronies. Not even one full month into his presidency, both international and domestic tensions have skyrocketed (as well as Trump's blood pressure). Needless to say, many of us have had a hard time coping with the amateur act that is the Donald J. Trump presidency (or is it intentionally destructive?). Seeing how things played out this week, it doesn’t seem like the outlandish and frightening sideshow will be simmering down anytime soon. To keep you up to date with the unhinged president and his administration, here’s our weekly recap of everything you need to know about the Trump tornado.


Hey Flynn, You’re Fired!

  • The week started with perhaps the biggest bombshell to come out of the Trump administration thus far, as former national security advisor Michael Flynn resigned from his position amid allegations that he was taking part in illegal communications about U.S. sanctions with Russian officials. After the alleged conversation had taken place back in December, before Trump was inaugurated, Flynn reportedly lied to Vice President Mike Pence about the nature of the unlawful discussion. It was originally believed that the advisor had stepped down on his own accord, and was replaced with retired Lt. Gen. Joseph Kellogg.

  • When the president was asked about Flynn’s resignation, however, Trump went into his usual deflective mode, going on to evade the question and praise Chief of Staff Reince Priebus instead. But White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer spilt the beans later on by claiming that Flynn had been fired by Trump for apparent lack of trust.

  • The controversy with Russia has emboldened the Democratic party to call on the GOP to take action. Many have stated that Flynn’s actions justify a full investigation into Trump’s potential ties with Russia. Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) put out a statement, claiming that “the American people deserve to know the full extent of Russia’s financial, personal, and political grip on President Trump and what that means for our national security.”

  • Even some Republican officials have begun to break ranks with the president over the situation. On Tuesday, Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt called for an investigation on the matter, stating that “we should look into it exhaustively so that at the end of this process, nobody wonders whether there was a stone left unturned.”

The Press Conference From Hell

  • In the most amusing (or frightening) moment of Trumps reign, the orange-tinted demagogue became completely unhinged during a cringeworthy press conference that lasted over one hour. There were a plethora of golden moments from the untamed ordeal, in which Trump went on a nonsensical rampage against his biggest enemy, the media. Here are some of the “highlights.”

  • In response to the leaks that led to Michael Flynn’s resignation, Trump retorted that the leaks are absolutely real. The news is fake because so much of the news is fake.

  • When an orthodox Jewish reporter (who supports Trump) asked the president about the uptick in anti-Semitic acts and how his administration would deal with them, Trump snapped back as if the question was a personal insult or charge of anti-Semitism. So heres the story, folks,” he rambled. “Number one, I am the least anti-Semitic person that youve ever seen in your entire life. Number two, racism—the least racist person.

  • When African-American reporter April Ryan asked Trump whether he would meet with black and hispanic members of Congress, he went on to assume that she was friendly enough with them to put together the entire meeting, presumably because of her race. Are they friends of yours? Set up the meeting, Trump snorted.

  • Perhaps the most awkward moment of the shit show took place when Trump falsely claimed to have had the largest electoral college victory since Ronald Reagan. When a reporter called him out for the statement, mentioning that both Obama and Bush had larger margins of victory, the president snapped back, defending himself by saying that he was simply “given that information.

  • Unsurprisingly, on Friday, Trump retaliated in his typical outlandish fashion by calling the mainstream news media “the enemy of the American people.”


Puzder Pulls Out

  • A few days after the the national security debacle, the tide started to turn against the Trump cabinet confirmation hearings. On Wednesday, fast-food executive and multi-millionaire Andrew Puzder withdrew his nomination for Secretary of Labor, becoming the first Trump cabinet pick to fail to be confirmed by the Senate.

  • The decision to step down came after a number of Republican Senators, including Maines Susan Collins, Alaskas Lisa Murkowski, Georgias Johnny Isakson, and South Carolinas Tim Scott, came out as either undecided or opposed to Puzder’s nomination.

  • Puzder, the CEO of CKE Restaurants, parent company of fast-food chains Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., has been known to pay extremely low wages and deny employees appropriate overtime compensation. His appointment had caused fear by labor unions across the country.


Obey or Get Out of Our Way

  • And the award for most frightening statement of the week goes to senior White House policy adviser Stephen Miller, who made a starkly authoritarian comment that “the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned.” The remark was made in retaliation to the tough time that both the media and the judicial branch has given Trump.


The War on Drugs Is Reignited

  • Trump had stoked fears in the cannabis industry by promising law enforcement across the country that he would get tougher on the War on Drugs than ever before. While states with legal marijuana have justified worries, Trump and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions seem fixated on stopping cartels with increased border protection and a $21.6 billion wall.  

  • Legal cannabis remains safe for now, but the industry has received a champion in Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who vowed to stand up to Trump if he tried to strike down on the state’s highly-lucrative recreational and medical market. “I would suggest to the White House that this is not a fight they should pick,” he said. The state will send a report detailing the success legalization has created, including decreased crime and increased tax revenue.


Divide and Conquer

  • This past week was also wrought with discriminatory behavior, both by the president and some of his supporters. At the start of the week, Trump decided to axe a case for transgender protections right after the White House released a statement in support of LGBTQ rights. The case was scheduled to be heard this coming month, but was indefinitely shut down by Sessions.

  • Outside of the Oval Office, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported a terrifying rise of hate groups in the United States since 2016. The report stated the total number of hate groups grew from 892 in 2015 to 917, while anti-Muslim groups tripled from 34 to 101.


Putting the “Brief” in Intelligence Briefing

  • The Trump administration hasn’t only stirred up controversy in the Senate, the intelligence community has also grown weary of the ill-tempered president. This past week, an NSA official told the New York Observer that they were holding back “the good stuff” from Trump due to fears of his Russian ties. The White House has since unveiled plans to have a close ally conduct a review over the country’s various intelligence communities.

  • On Thursday, reports leaked that Trump had yelled at CIA Director Mike Pompeo over the intelligence community withholding information from him. The temper tantrum came after the Wall Street Journal alleged that U.S. intelligence officials were hiding information in fear of it being leaked or compromised.  

  • In the week’s most surprising news, the Trump administration actually complied with the federal court's request to hand over a CIA “torture report.” The 6,700-page report from 2014 details how CIA investigators abused alleged terrorists at “black sites” like Guantanamo Bay.   


Stirring up Trouble Around the Globe

  • Canada: The first meeting between Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau went smoothly on the surface, but the media has speculated on the awkwardly intense handshake between the two vastly different leaders. During their discussion on NAFTA, Trump called the trade deal between the U.S. and Canada “a much less severe situation” than with Mexico, but still claimed that he is still looking to tweak certain parts the trade agreement.   

  • Japan: Earlier this week, while Trump was hosting Japans Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at his Mar-a-Lago resort, North Korea unexpectedly launched an intermediate-range ballistic missile. Since the president was at his favorite place of residence, he decided to host the emergency national security meeting right in the middle of his resort’s dining area. The careless move has drawn widespread criticism about Trump’s ability to handle highly-sensitive situations in an appropriate manner.  

  • Europe: The Trump team headed to Germany this past week for an annual security conference for NATO, an organization that the president has constantly ridiculed for allegedly taking advantage of the United States. While Vice President Pence, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly attempted to soothe relations between the Trump and the disgruntled European continent, Arizona Sen. John McCain sang a much different tune, claiming that the divisive president’s administration is in “disarray.”

  • Israel: During a press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump emphasized the close relationship between the two countries, and stated that he would work towards building peace between Palestine and Israel. The meeting between the two leaders went more smoothly than usual for Trump, things haven’t been so easy for David Friedman, the nominee for U.S. Ambassador to Israel. On Thursday, the bankruptcy lawyer and longtime friend of Trump’s was heckled for previously comparing liberal American Jews to the Jewish prisoners who worked for the Nazis during the Holocaust. He had also claimed the former president Barack Obama was an anti-Semite and called New York Sen. Chuck Schumer an “appeaser.”  

  • Venezuela: On Monday, the Trump administration extended its travel ban to Venezuelas Vice President Tareck El Aissami for his alleged involvement in drug trafficking.

  • Russia: On Friday, Russian Senator Alexey Pushkov stated that Trump and the senior officials in his administration have had conflicting stances on Russia. Pushkov tweeted that Russia was getting “three lines” from the administration after U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson attended a NATO conference in Brussels, and both spoke wearily of being allies with Russia.


No Laughing Matter


How to Battle Back

  • There are a wide variety of upcoming demonstrations against Trump taking place all across the country, from a protest to get his taxes released, to a march in support of science. Weve listed the biggest of them for you.


Tyler Koslow is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer with an intensive focus on technology, music, pop culture, and of course, cannabis and its impending legalization.